CF Insights asks a very simple but important question: "What if each community foundation could know what all community foundations collectively know?" This collection features research produced and funded by community foundations, and other resources relevant to the field. Contact us at and visit us at

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Arts Infusion Initiative, 2010-15: Evaluation Report

March 6, 2016

For youth involved in the criminal justice system, a better future depends on improving their social and emotional learning skills -- skills like conflict resolution, career readiness and preparation for the future. An assessment by the Urban Institute shows how the Arts Infusion Initiative helped achieve just that for young people detained in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC), and for high-risk youth in the Lawndale, Little Village, Back of the Yards and South Shore communities. From 2010 to 2015, this catalytic approach to restoring the peace for Chicago's youth supported 14 nonprofits providing teens with rigorous arts instruction, infused with social and emotional learning goals. Funded by The Chicago Community Trust, the $2.5 million Initiative built collaborations with the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Public Schools, and Northwestern and Loyola Universities. The Urban Institute's mixed-method evaluation (2.9MB), commissioned by the National Guild for Community Arts Education with funding from the Trust, concluded that "the fields of education, juvenile justice and family and youth services can benefit tremendously from the emergent approaches embodied in the Arts Infusion Initiative." Among the successes their research revealed:Participants showed substantial improvements in social and emotional learning skills, as measured by conflict resolution, future orientation, critical response and career readiness. Improvements ranged from 27% in conflict resolution and career readiness, to 29% for critical response and 36% for future orientation.The initiative helped foster collaboration between program directors, public schools, community policing and the detention center. Examples include the Trust and the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy program working together to open a high-tech digital music lab at JTDC. Chicago Public Schools' plan for a new Digital Arts Career Academy for at-risk and court-involved high school youth is a direct result of the positive effects Arts Infusion had on youth, and of the relationship forged between CPS and the Trust.The program exposed at-risk youth to new skills and technologies that opened their minds to a positive future. Arts Infusion grants enabled many participating programs to purchase -- often for the first time -- modern, professional-grade equipment to which many youth had never been exposed. Better Boys Foundation used its funding to purchase enough modern film lab equipment to serve a full 17-student class -- previous classes had only one camera to share among all students.

Life After Prison: Tracking the Experiences of Male Prisoners Returning to Chicago, Cleveland, and Houston

May 15, 2010

Examines the reentry experiences of 652 men in the three cities, including housing stability, family relationships, substance use, employment, and recidivism. Analyzes outcome predictors such as prison programs, job training, and family structure.

Health and Prisoner Reentry: How Physical, Mental, and Substance Abuse Conditions Shape the Process of Reintegration

February 1, 2008

Documents the health challenges released prisoners face and the impact of physical health conditions, mental illness, and substance abuse on the reentry process, including finding housing and employment, reconnecting with family, and avoiding recidivism.

Are HOPE VI Families at Greater Risk for Homelessness?

June 1, 2007

Examines whether federal HOPE VI relocation initiatives increase the chances that original residents will be at greater risk of homelessness. Based on surveys of residents at five Hope VI public housing sites.

Hope VI'd and on the Move

June 1, 2007

Examines whether the federal HOPE VI housing program has successfully improved living environments for the majority of residents. Based on surveys of residents at five Hope VI public housing sites.

Housing Choice Vouchers: How HOPE VI Families Fared in the Private Market

June 1, 2007

Examines the relocation experiences of HOPE VI housing program residents who used a voucher to find new homes, both in and out of public housing. Based on surveys of residents at five Hope VI public housing sites.

Moving On: Benefits and Challenges of HOPE VI for Children

June 1, 2007

Examines the well-being of children in the federal HOPE VI housing program in the areas of behavior, health, and school engagement. Based on surveys of residents at five Hope VI public housing sites.

Poor Health: Adding Insult to Injury for HOPE VI Families

June 1, 2007

Examines the poor overall health status and debilitating medical conditions reported by many residents in the HOPE VI housing program. Based on surveys of residents at five Hope VI public housing sites.

Relocation Is Not Enough: Employment Barriers Among HOPE VI Families

June 1, 2007

Examines whether the federal HOPE VI housing program has affected employment rates among residents, and identifies barriers to workforce participation. Based on surveys of residents at five Hope VI public housing sites.

Safety Is the Most Important Thing: How HOPE VI Helped Families

June 1, 2007

Examines whether the federal HOPE VI housing program has succeeded in its goal of improving residents' life circumstances and safety and alleviating their fear of crime. Based on surveys of residents at five Hope VI public housing sites.

Immigrants in Connecticut: Labor Market Experiences and Health Care Access

November 1, 2005

This profile of Connecticut's immigrants is intended to help policymakers, state planners, and service providers better understand the size, characteristics, and needs of the state's immigrant population. Beyond the basic demographics of the foreign-born population, the report focuses on immigrants in the labor force and health care access for different immigrant groups.

How Are HOPE VI Families Faring? Health

October 7, 2004

While the primary goal of the HOPE VI program is to improve the living environment of public housing residents, it also aims to help residents move toward self-sufficiency by helping them find new or better jobs (see page 6). The program's Community Support Services (CSS) component can help identify what residents need, such as job training or placement, to make them more likely to find employment. Relocation itself might help residents find employment if they move to less poor neighborhoods with more job opportunities and better job information networks. Residents who move back to new mixed-income developments on the HOPE VI sites could experience similar improved job networks. However, whether these expectations of increased employment and self-sufficiency are realistic for HOPE VI residents is unclear. For both employed and nonemployed residents, the gap between household income and the income needed for housing and other costs of living is wide. The HOPE VI Panel Study is tracking the well-being of residents from five HOPE VI sites (see page 7). These respondents, mostly African American women, were extremely poor at baseline.[1] The vast majority reported household incomes below the poverty level, and over a third (35 percent) reported annual incomes of less than $5,000. Less than half (45 percent) of respondents were employed, and those who were working earned low wages (Popkin et al. 2002). This brief discusses income and employment findings for working-age adults under 62 years old two years after relocation started at the five HOPE VI Panel Study sites.[2] It examines various barriers to employment for respondents, and considers both expectations for future employment and the services and support systems that might best mitigate those barriers. Future research will examine how residents' employment experiences are affected as relocation is completed and some residents return to the revitalized developments. Brief #4 from the series "Metropolitan Housing and Communities: A Roof Over Their Heads".Notes from this section1. Because many health problems vary significantly by gender and race, and because over 90 percent of the adults in the HOPE VI Panel Study are women and 89 percent are African American, a sample of black women nationally is used as the comparison group. The national data cited in this brief are published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, calculated from the National Health Interview Survey in 2001.National Health Interview Survey data are broken down by sex and race, but not further by poverty status. Nationally, approximately one-third of all black women live in households with incomes below the poverty level. Therefore, the comparison data are biased slightly upward in terms of better health because of the relatively better economic well-being of the national population of black women compared to the HOPE VI sample. Even limiting the comparisons to similar gender, race, and age groups, adults in the HOPE VI study experience health problems more often than other demographically similar groups.